Ahead of the Australian premiere of Young Jean Lee’s razor-edged satire Straight White Men, we asked some non-straight-white-men to imagine life as a Straight White Man. In this first piece, writer Michelle Law envisions what a typical day may be like.
The first thing I do is walk out of the house looking like an exploded bag of garbage. Nobody makes a comment about my appearance. It’s bliss. Then straight to Costco, where I buy fifty plaid shirts, fifty flannel shirts, a Weber, and a four-door ute without people assuming that I’m a lesbian. God, it feels good to wave goodbye to that burdensome female identity and Asian ethnicity.
As a cis dude I make a mental note to take up night jogging without fear and buy pajama pants with dick holes in the front. Now the world and its pants cater to me, my opinions, and my politically powerful yet aggressively average-sized tubesteak. What a time to be alive. (I already hate myself.)
In the hardware section, I pick up a shiny new toolkit. I lost my previous one helping my mate Dan — who has beautiful eyes though I would never tell him that because I’m not a soft c*nt — fix his roof while we discussed the latest sporting event involving other straight, white men chasing big balls and touching each other’s butts.
I’m buying a bunch of new stuff because I’m up to my eyeballs in extra cash that my workplace isn’t giving to the girls in the office. I feel bad about this (even though the wage gap is a myth), but it’s fine, because I’m going to spend some of the money taking Sarah out.
Sarah lives down the road and after we get married, this money will go towards our shared future and home, in which I unconsciously expect her to spend the rest of her life. If Sarah isn’t into domestic servitude, I’ll give Lily in accounting a shot. I’ve never dated an Asian woman before but I spent my Schoolies week in Bali and watch heaps of Pornhub so I know culturally they’re pretty subservient.
Later, I stop by General Pants to buy a singlet with armholes large enough to expose my nipples, which are tiny specks stamped onto the rippling, brick shithouse of my body. I am ready for Splendour. It’s not a grouse time, though. I’ve brought Sarah, who yells at me for ‘mansplaining’, which I think is a type of spaghetti (?). As I sip on the Ice Break that I’m able to drink because I’m white now and no longer lactose intolerant, I think of a comeback to do with her body. That’ll show her. But I just end up thinking of spaghetti!
I tell Sarah that I’m starting to do stand-up comedy because the world needs to hear an untold perspective. She rolls her eyes and disappears into a crowd of other white people wearing Native American headdresses. I tip my fedora to her and whisper, ‘Namaste’.
I go home alone and cosplay as Jack Kerouac and jerk off to my own reflection. That night, I dream about being myself again and it’s lame, because I’m dreaming of a young Chinese lady and she isn’t even flashing her privates, like she’s got a mind of her own or something. But it’s the first time in months that I’m not bored out of my mind. At least now I’ve got something to fight for.
Michelle Law is a freelance writer of fiction, non-fiction, theatre, TV and film. She is the co-author of the comedy book, Sh*t Asian Mothers Say, and has had her work anthologised in books like Women of Letters and Destroying the Joint. Some of the places she’s written for include the Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Life, and the Griffith Review. As a screenwriter, she’s received an AWGIE award for her interactive media work, and had her films screened on the ABC and at film festivals locally and abroad. She’s currently working on her debut stage play with La Boite Theatre Company. You can receive updates from Michelle Law on Twitter or via her website.